Jennifer R. Smith, PhD, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, is one of eight U.S. citizens selected to go abroad in 2013 as an Eisenhower USA Fellow.
Retired Gen. Colin L. Powell, chairman of Eisenhower Fellowships, announced the eight winners, who were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants.
“This is a unique opportunity for a group of outstanding leaders to broaden themselves personally and professionally,” Powell said.
As part of her fellowship, Smith will spend a month in India next summer on an intensive individualized professional program.
“I will be looking at how higher education can be used to foster innovation, with an eye also toward how multicultural abroad/exchange experiences can be used to ‘prime’ students to think outside the box,” Smith said.
“This is a tremendous honor for both Jen and our university and I am not surprised to hear that she has been selected for this role,” said Gary S. Wihl, PhD, dean of the faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Hortense and Tobias Lewin Distinguished Professor in the Humanities.
“Jen is exactly the kind of dynamic leader who can engage with the complex issues of globalization and who has the vision and energy to put transformative ideas into practice.”
Smith said she hopes to bring back from India a “suite of educational initiatives” for potential implementation at Washington University, as well as in India.
“These could be specific ideas for classroom techniques, adapted from some of the non-traditional educational initiatives already in place in India to serve populations other than the usual bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree candidates,” said Smith, who is also an associate professor of earth and planetary sciences and of environmental studies. She became dean of the College of Arts & Sciences on July 1.
“Alterntatively, we may be able to sketch out the framework of an innovative curriculum, that represents a hybridized technical/liberal arts education,” Smith said.
“My intention would be that those involved in discussing these initiatives would remain collaborative partners as we tested our ideas on multiple campuses, and that we would additionally implement a joint effort to assess the effectiveness of our results.
“We would also, hopefully, have laid the institutional groundwork for new kinds of abroad and exchange experiences, those targeted specifically at awakening the innovative potential of students at the college and graduate level,” Smith said.
“These experiences would not only help develop new generations of innovators, but also cultivate enhanced relationships between the St. Louis region and India that could facilitate the economic growth of both places,” she says.
Smith adds that the ties established between Washington University and various institutions and individuals in India, both directly through the McDonnell International Scholars Academy and individual WUSTL faculty whose research activities involve collaborations in India, give her a solid foundation of initial contacts in the region.
In recognizing the eight fellowship awardees, Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and chairman of the Executive Committee of Eisenhower Fellowships, said, “We live in a globalized world. An Eisenhower Fellowship will allow these outstanding men and women to bring new insights from world experts back to their communities and to form a network of lasting relationships that will make them global leaders in their fields.”
Eisenhower Fellowships is a private, non-profit and non-partisan organization seeking to foster international understanding and leadership through the exchange of information, ideas and perspectives among leaders throughout the world.
Established in 1953 as a birthday tribute to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the organization has sponsored more than 2,000 fellows from 108 countries.
Daniel Isom, St. Louis Metropolitan police chief, is among the eight selected to participate in the 2013 Eisenhower USA Fellows program.
Isom, who will travel to Germany for his fellowship, recently announced that he is retiring from the police department at the end of the year and joining the University of Missouri-St. Louis faculty.
For more information on the fellowship program, visit: www.efworld.org.
*Information from Susan McGinn, Washington University.